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Express your views on global press freedom

On May 4, as part of its ingoing coverage of World Press Freedom Day, The Globe and Mail will devote the Opinion Section to examining the state of press freedom around the globe. We invite letter writers to share your views on the role of a free press, and will publish a cross-section of responses in the Letters to the Editor section on May 4. Letters addressing the role of a free press should be submitted no later than April 29, and be kept under 200 words. Letters to the editor must include a name and city of residence. E-mail: letters@globeandmail.com

United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney reacts at his election-night headquarters in Calgary on April 16, 2019.CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

Messages from Alberta

I am a true progressive conservative, socially progressive, fiscally conservative. I voted UCP. I didn’t like many of the social policies of the United Conservative Party, but I was terrified of the financial policies of the NDP. I’m sure many Ontarians can relate. It’s the only way Doug Ford’s government got elected in very progressive Ontario after the tumultuous term of Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

We now have centre-right governments in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. At the end of the day, most people vote with their wallets.

I have a message for my progressive friends: You need to change. Overpromising, overtaxing, overspending, and racking up debt is scaring voters to the other side. You are failing because our children deserve social justice, too. Your new mantra should be: Social justice, prioritized and within our means.

Dan Petryk, Calgary

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With our election just concluded, Ontario and Alberta are joined as never before:

You’ve got Ford

and we’ve got Kenney.

There may be worse fates,

but surely not many.

Tony Fricke, Calgary

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In a year or so, when the court-mandated consultations are done and the Trans Mountain Pipeline goes ahead, as it was always going to, Jason Kenney will stick out his chest, strut around and claim the credit. And his base will eat it up and suck on the bones. And if, God forbid, Andrew Scheer is prime minister by then, he will be right in there, too, claiming his share of the credit as well.

But those of us with some regard for the facts will know that it was Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau who did the real work.

Tom Sullivan, Toronto

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Re Kenney Victory Another Thorn In Side Of Trudeau As He Seeks Re-Election (April 17): I would love to relocate that thorn in your headline from the PM’s side to his backside, tell him to get off it and get the oil moving! Pipeline, now. Now. Did I say, “Now”?

People are hurting in this province. I voted UCP – sorry, mom – and it had nothing to do with being unhappy with Rachel Notley (I respect her big time), or even the NDP (no worse than the rest) and everything to do with sending a message to Ottawa.

Liz Andrews, Edmonton

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There is a certain irony, or maybe a failure of logic in the victory of the UCP over the NDP. Jason Kenney was able to whip up the anger of Albertans and direct it toward the Liberals in Ottawa regarding the delay in construction of the Trans Mountain extension. But didn’t the federal government buy Trans Mountain to ensure the extension will be built? That’s quite the five-billion-dollar gift to Alberta.

To use an analogy, it reminds me of parents buying a used car for their new young driver, but insisting the car be safe and road-worthy before being put on the road, only to have the young driver shouting, “You don’t want me to have this car!” Albertans have no real complaint.

Robert Milan, Victoria

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I’m sorry that we will be “at war” with the rest of Canada after this election. Many Albertans are devastated with the outcome. We want harmony with other provinces; we have relations, friends in other parts of the country, and to pit one province against another is just not the Canadian way.

We are heading into unknown territory. All the promises this new government has made make me worry about our province’s future. Our task for the next four years is to be active, to watch, to listen, to question and yes, to protest if needed. Alberta needs this more than ever, starting now.

Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, Red Deer, Alta.

Climate kudos?

Re Finally, Canada Is A Shining Example Of Climate Action (April 15): The fact Canada may be seen as a shining example of climate action, as sustainable energy professor Mark Jaccard claims, is simply evidence of our human incapacity to deal with the existential threat of climate change.

Prof. Jaccard admits Canada will not meet its 2030 climate commitments. In light of that, and given the recent studies regarding the warming in our Arctic regions, sugar-coating Canada’s response will not provide us with any kudos as we take our place in among the lemming nations crashing over the cliff edge.

Robin Bassett, Victoria

Forecast: Misinformation

Re A Storm Of Misinformation Is Coming. Our Federal Election Could Be At Risk (April 17): The Russiagate believers, who raised Robert Mueller’s status to that of a saint, constantly told us he was trustworthy. So a reasonable mind might think that, in light of the findings of the report, the obsessions with Russia’s involvement in the U.S. elections would gradually fade.

However, the disappointment of honest believers in Russiagate is understandable; the dislike of Donald Trump combined with endless rumours citing the probe’s inevitable multiple indictments and convictions created an atmosphere that made it almost impossible to backtrack.

In the absence of evidence, the conspiracy theorists are taking over the agenda for Russiagate and misinformation in the Western countries’ elections. Being vigilant about misinformation during elections is important, but being obsessed about it has the risk of distracting people from the issues that matter – climate breakdown, the rise of the ultraright, migrants, and the economy.

Ali Orang, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Notre-Dame’s reach

Re Loss, Heartache And A Vow To Rebuild (April 17): The real tragedy of Notre-Dame is not the burned-out roof, but the return to medieval levels of inequality, in which three French families have amassed so much wealth that they can afford to donate three-quarters of a billion dollars to the repair fund. Plus ça change!

Alan Ball, New Westminster, B.C.

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While the world rightly mourns the damage to this monument, consider this: There is no legislative protection for Canada’s national historic sites. We are the only G7 country to lack such protection for its national heritage.

Leslie Maitland, past president, Heritage Ottawa

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At 18, I travelled to Paris in the spring of 1980. In the outdoor plaza in front of Notre-Dame, a large, elevated platform was being constructed in anticipation of a visit by Pope John Paul II that week.

I extended my visit to be there, and have a distinct memory of joining in a sea of thousands of people, a large portion being priests and nuns, waiting for the Pope to arrive. When he appeared, with the incredibly powerful symbol of Notre-Dame towering behind him, most of the priests and nuns, including many others, fell to their knees openly weeping. I had a visceral reaction and was deeply touched.

Though I’m Jewish, it is one of my earliest memories of the power of faith, any faith, and its central importance in lifting up the human soul.

Jeffrey Morry, Winnipeg

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Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com